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August 25: You can tell it’s a Friday in August because the party invitation from poor old Lucy Gao of Citigroup seems still to have everybody talking. In response to my request earlier for more news, I have been sent this apology/clarification which Lucy sent yesterday to her friends. Here it is.

“Hi Fellow Citigroup Interns,

Just to clear a few things up, now that it is seriously getting out of control, it was suppose to be an internal joke between me and a couple of my guests to my 21st Party. The actual party was great, and nothing like it so please do not worry. I should not have used my Citigroup email account in the first place so I apologise for that.

I am sorry if you found the content of the invitation details offensive and I am glad to entertain. But please stop now because it is getting really unprofessional and unnecessary, and a lot of you know me anyway and have heard about this so I apologise for repeating this again, but hopefully for the final time.

Cheers everyone and have a great time this evening.

See you soon.

Lucy”

I have also been sent what looks like her thank you letter, emailed out on Monday. Here it is:

“Good morning,

“THANK YOU ALL so much for Friday night, it was absolutely phenomenon and it was - like I said - the best birthday I’ve ever had!

“I really hope you enjoyed the Ritz and then Pangaea, and I will get those fabulous photos to you ASAP - I’m so excited! :D

“Thanks for all your generous gifts - I had the most wonderful prolonged birthday experience when I returned to the Ritz on Sat to collect the bags full of presents and cards.

“Also, vielen dank Sophie for organising the magnificent cake - incredibly delicious. Thank you to my talented prime photographer Mandeep.

“Thank you Citi interns for your thoughtful gifts, champagne, and those beautiful flowers (et merci beaucoup Sophie!), and all your sweet comments on my card. I was truly touched.

“Thanks to my home and Oxford friends who have travelled very far to attend the joyful occasion. Much appreciated.

“And last but certainly not least, many thanks to my PA for the evening, Ms Gill, couldn’t have done it without you Sanami - should consider this as a profession! ;)

“I am so grateful to have friends like you and I truly hope we can all keep in touch in the future no matter where we end up.

“The very special 35 of you have made my 21st Birthday one of the most memorable evenings of my life and I hope you will also cherish the great times on Friday as much as I shall.

“Cheers to great memories!

“FRIENDS FOREVER

“Lucy

“x”

For those of you who missed my blog earlier, here is the link to the video of Lucy and her friends at Oxford promoting the university’s engineering faculty. It’s very sweet. And here again is the original invitation that seems to have amused so many people [skip next few lines if you want to get on with today’s real news]:

“Dear Friends,

“Thank you for all your replies and I am glad all of you can come this Friday to celebrate my 21st with me. Please read ALL the following to ensure your entry into the Ritz.

“Lucy’s 21st Birthday Party at The Ritz Hotel London

“Friday, 18th of August

“9pm Champagne Reception

“10pm Photo Shoots

“10:30pm Blowing Candles

“Mid-night Pangaea, Mayfair

“I have arranged the Ritz to host a Champagne Reception with a selection of Ritz Champagne for all my guests, this will be on me so please come and indulge.

“A specially made birthday cake has also been ordered and the Ritz waiters will kindly serve you each a generous slice with Ritz cutleries, etc...also on me.

“INSTRUCTIONS FOR ENTRY:

“ * When you arrive, take the Hotel entry on the opposite side of the Green Park tube station [Please refer to your arrival time at the end of this email]

“ * When asked “how can I help you Sir/Madame?”, you reply “I am here for Lucy’s Birthday Party at the Rivoli Bar”

“ * You will be escorted to the lounge area next to the Rivoli bar, where you will hopefully see a gorgeous group of ladies.

“If you experience any issues getting in or getting to the Ritz, please call my mobile on 07782 xxx xxx and my PA Ms Gill will kindly deal with your queries between 8:30pm to 10pm.

“STRICT DRESS CODE:

“Gentlemen: Jacket, shirt, and please also bring a tie (no jeans, trainers, flip-flops, polo-shirts)

“Ladies: skirt/top, cocktail dress (no denim, min-skirts, flip-flops, bad tastes)

“Advice 1: It goes without saying that the more upper-class you dress, the less likely you shall be denied entry.

“Advice 2: Photos will be taken between 10pm to 10:30pm, and these will be distributed once processed, therefore you may want to be well-groomed! ;)

“Finally...

“I will be accepting cards and small gifts between 9pm to 11pm...<wink wink> hehehe

“I very much look forward to seeing you all at the Ritz this Friday.

“Lucy

“ARRIVAL TIMES: [Please stick to these as best as you can, thank you]

“9:00pm: Lucy, Sophie Sandner, Kajai, Mandeep, Preet, Sanami, Su, Lisa, Kate.

“9:15pm: Phoebe, Sophie Seugnet, Theo, Dmitry, Ed, Nikolay, Paul, Nick, Harry.

“9:30pm: Marco, Andrea, Jess, Ovi, Yuki, Olga, Kim, Marcelo, Ulyana, Krystal, Dan.

“9:45pm: Sunita, Alan, JingJing, Emma.

“10:00pm: Anthony, Rachel, Roger, Uli, Yogi, Gharzi”

In real news, Interserve shares have fallen sharply after the support services group said it has to delay the publication of its half year results following its review of accounting mis-statements.

Our top story, however, remains Isoft, which has published a press release that reads like a cross between a memorandum for sale and a fundraising prospectus. It says the software group made a £344m loss in the year to the end of April and that Accenture and Computer Sciences Corporation, its senior partners on the NHS IT project, have accused it of material breach of contract. The figures, however, have not been signed off by the auditors and the company says they are not yet fully compliant with IFRS. What is more, the investigations into Isoft’s accounting could lead to further restatements, the company warns. It has provided a frighteningly frank description of the risks it faces, including a recognition that its reputation has been damaged and that this is affecting its business. In among the mounds of detail is also a warning that the company might need to raise additional funding,

Vodafone is selling its 25 per cent stake in Proximus, the Belgian mobile phone operator, for €2bn. The buyer if Belgacom, which already owns the rest. This continues Arun Sarin’s policy of selling non-core investments (viz Sweden and Japan).

Rank is selling the Clermont Club, the casino once heavily patronised by Lord Lucan, for £31m. The buyer is BIL International, a Singapore company linked to Malaysian billionaire Quek Leng Chang. It is the latest step in the slow break-up of the Rank group.

And, with Randy Lerner now holding 60 per cent of Aston Villa, we will do more today on the financial reasons behind all these bids for football clubs. Those in the office who know more about football than I do tell me that Villa this Sunday host Newcastle United, who this week said they had received a takeover approach from Belgravia, an investment group. M&A strategy will doubtless be the talk of the terraces over the Bovril and Westler’s pies. Any fans wanting a quick cram on the takeover code, can find full details here.

Finally, an historical addendum to our Bodycote package earlier this week. A very helpful reader has been on to us pointing out that the company could not have been taken over by Slater Walker in 1951, as we reported. We relied on Bodycote’s own website for this information but this reader points out that Slater Walker wasn’t founded until 1964. We have put this to Bodycote, who sound puzzled but are looking into it.

Have a great bank holiday weekend!

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